As promised, today I will be kicking off our Paris in July with the second, and far superior (in my opinion), half of Gigi and the Cat. Alain is a young man about to embark out into married life with the sexy yet rather vacuous Camille. However, to do so he must leave behind the family home and, much more disturbingly for him, the company of his beloved chartreuse cat, Saha. (I think I’m on a cat themed-roll at the moment, don’t you?)
Moving into a small Parisian apartment to enjoy his newly married life, the separation of man and pet soon becomes unbearable for both of them and Saha is swiftly moved in to sun herself on their balcony and curl up on the laundry basket. Alain is a man struggling to move on with his life, struggling to grow up in many ways and the unendearing and rather shallow personality of his new wife certainly does not prove strong enough to break the bond between her new man and the one creature who truly does understand him. Some may link the breakdown of this relationship directly to the presence of this bewitching animal. However, Alain is a restless character from the start, never throwing himself with complete abandon into the arms of his lover; seeming most comfortable in his childhood bedroom, playing in his mother’s garden in pyjamas that are far too small for him.
I don’t blame Alain for his apathy towards his new life, for his desire to hang on to the past and disinterest in uninteresting people. I, like him, would much rather spend my time with a cat. Like Paul Gallico, Colette describes Saha with great eloquence and subtlety, betraying an implicit knowledge and understanding of these animals.
Unlike Gigi, this story is the perfect length, it is pretty and profound and I loved it. I’d also highly recommend Chéri and The last of Chérie, which were my first Colette books and carry fond memories of reclining in the Parc Monceau with a slab of cheese, baguette and a bottle of red wine…aaah bliss.